From the magnificent fjords of Norway to the awesome ice-filled bays of Antarctica, Hurtigruten is renowned for its comprehensive collection of voyages to remote, beautiful and dramatic coastlines from the far north to the distant south. With over 120 years of maritime experience and our fleet of sixteen intimate and comfortable ships, we offer voyages that go beyond the traditional cruise, allowing closer encounters with environments, wildlife and people along shorelines near and far.
When seasoned Norwegian Sea Captain Richard With came up with the idea of starting a year-round steam ship service to link northern and southern Norway, the local Governor asked his associates, "Is this captain a dreamer, or can it be done?"
It was the late 19th century, and though the Industrial Revolution had brought all kinds of comforts and technologies to Oslo and the ports of the south, the region beyond Bergen was still seen as a remote wilderness hemmed in by dramatic landscapes. Richard With's proposal for a service in daylight hours, from Trondheim to Hammerfest on a weekly basis, bringing mail, passengers and cargo was audacious enough, but he went further, claiming that in time, he would be able to sail this distance both day and night, both summer and winter. This was unheard of, as the first complete map of the Norwegian coast had yet to be made, and no pilot could possibly know all the topographical challenges.
The rugged landscape north of Bergen had for centuries only been accessible from the sea. From before the time of the Vikings, ships had sailed along the coast, exploiting the channels and harbours - kept free of ice by the Gulf Stream - in search of the best fishing grounds.
The route became a lively trading channel, as boats burdened first with dried fish and later flour, syrup and sugar provided isolated communities with commerce and provisions. The delivery of mail was the initial reason for the establishment of what was then known as the Coastal Express.
For ninety years, the Coastal Express was the most important communication link between south and north. It is from these times that the name Hurtigruten dates, translated as 'fast route', this was quite literally the quickest route to north Norway. Each ship had its own post office, its own stamp and its own post officer on board - indeed it was only in 1983 that mail delivery was transferred to planes and vehicles. Up until then, the Coastal Express was simply the most reliable of the alternatives, known for arriving on time all year around, regardless of weather conditions.
This symbiosis between the ships and the people may well account for the affection many Norwegians have for the route. Ask a coastal resident to tell you about Hurtigruten and they sometimes become emotional. The history and tradition of the route, and the epic endeavour of the captains and crews who have helped steer so many coastal communities into the modern age, have never been regarded with anything but admiration.
It is with this heritage and experience that the Hurtigruten fleet has moved forward to operate in Spitsbergen, Greenland and Antarctica, offering the most professional and proficient expedition voyage operation on the planet.
Let us take you there
As part of the Hurtigruten family you can be assured that we will provide the best in specialist knowledge, experience and expertise from your initial enquiry to your safe return. Offering voyages that will exceed all expectations, you are sure to bring home wonderful memories that will last forever. Discover how from the fjords of Norway to the waters of the high Arctic and the shores of the Antarctic Peninsula, Hurtigruten are the specialists in intimate and informal voyaging worldwide.
In our home waters of the Norwegian coast, our ships have been part of the country’s very
lifeline for over a century. Beneath the Midnight Sun or the mystical Northern Lights, daily
departures across the Arctic Circle from Bergen to Kirkenes, take us right to the heart of coastal Norway. Calling at 34 ports, most never visited by commercial cruise liners, our ships deliver freight, post and passengers to remote communities, some of which are home to just a few hundred people. Sailing along this beautiful coastline, through magical fjords to enchanted islands, we enjoy a genuine, friendly and unpretentious voyage which is truly Norwegian.
Spitsbergen, Greenland, South America, Antarctica
Our Nordic influence and distinctive maritime heritage have inspired us to go further, to explore regions of exceptional natural beauty and offer voyages to some of the most desirable places on Earth. With regular shore excursions and on board lecturers we join an international mix of passengers to encounter, discover and develop our understanding of the shorelines and wildlife that lie far beyond our natural horizons – Spitsbergen, Greenland, South America and Antarctica